PR or Media Relations?
As a public relations specialist, you could work for the government, a hospital, a charity, a Fortune 500 company, or even become a publicist for an individual celebrity or politician. Your job centers around making that organization or person look as good as possible. Since the best way to reach a large group at once is currently through the media, this job sometimes gets referred to as a media relations specialist as well.
Do You Need a PR Degree for This Career?
Yes and no. You need either a PR degree or a degree in a related field like journalism, marketing, or communications. PR classes can include:
- Business administration
- Creative writing
- Political science
- Psychology and sociology
Above all, you should get an internship in public relations prior to graduation, since employers often value experience more than anything else. An internship can also be your gateway to an entry-level job.
What to Expect After Getting Your PR Degree
While employment for public or media relations specialists should grow 24 percent from 2008 to 2018, the competition for entry-level jobs remains fierce. Knowing a second language, or a thorough knowledge of how to use social media as a publicist, could improve your chances.
The average publicist earns $58,960 annually, although certain industries pay significantly higher wages. For instance, petroleum and coal products manufacturing (an industry in desperate need of a good public image!) pays an average annual wage of $129,460. Of course, you need to beat out a lot of competition for the top paying jobs, making an internship and an impressive PR degree even more important.